First Thursdays

First Thursdays is a monthly festival showcasing the diversity of arts and humanities on campus and throughout the Bloomington community. On the first Thursday of each warm-weather month, the Council and its friends join together on the Arts Plaza (right in front of the IU Auditorium) for an evening of performances, hands-on creative activities, community-building, great food, and fun!

First Thursdays offer a welcoming environment for students, community members, four-legged friends, and artists and scholars of all kinds. Our festivities have included everything from opera signers to breakdancers, stage-fighting to clay-throwing, and much, much more. Each First Thursday is unique, and each is a great opportunity to experience the wonderful work of artists, performers, and scholars from all across campus and all around town.

First Thursdays are supported in part by Hard Truth Hills and Upland Brewing Company. 

Join us September 5th for the first First Thursdays Festival of the academic year! Enjoy main stage performances from Royalty - Prince Tribute Band, Jefferson Street Parade Band, Dior Quartet, and Flashback to Never; plus great hands-on creative activites, delicious food, and fun for the whole community!

A preliminary list of performers and activities is below. Check back closer to the festival date for a full list of all the great arts & humanities experiences at the September First Thursday. 


IU Catering will offer a tasty menu of festival foods, complemented by ice cream from Chocolate Moose and other delectables from local food trucks. 

On the Arts Plaza

Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design & Friends of Art Bookshop


Don't stand on the sidelines! Paint and draw with faculty and students from the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design’s Painting area. Pick up a brush and jump in as the pros guide visitors to help create a giant version of a well-known painting. Also, have your portrait painted or drawn on the spot by IU faculty or students for $10, cash only. And, try your hand on an easel and sketch costumed models stationed around Showalter Fountain.

First Year Experience

Scavenger Hunt

Stop by the First Year Experience table to participate in a scavenger hunt and learn more about the various artistic places in IU! This event will count as one of the required events for the Hoosier Experience Program. Those who complete the short scavenger hunt will be entered into a raffle for free tickets across campus. Hope to see you there!

Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance

IU Theatre & Dance will celebrate the beginning of the semester and September’s First Thursday with lawn games! Please join us for corn hole and ladder toss at the IU Theatre & Dance table. We’re highlighting our Themester sponsored production By The Bog of Cats, opening on September 27, with cat-themed word games. We’ll also have a drawing for two free tickets!

Archives of Traditional Music

Listening Station

Come join the Archives of Tradition Music (ATM) as we provide a "drop the needle" listening session. Dig through some recordings and listen to one of your choosing. We'll provide the player and the LPs; you just provide yourself and your curiosity! An additional activity will test your knowledge of geographic regions and musical genres. Stop by our table to listen to some music, test your knowledge of world music, and learn more about the ATM!

Eskenazi Museum of Art

Eskenazi Museum of Art staff will be sharing information about the reopening and behind-the-scenes sneak peeks at what to expect in the newly-renovated museum. We're encouraging visitors to take a peek at what we've been up to, and will get energized for the reopening celebrations in Fall 2019!

Mathers Museum of World Cultures

In conjunction with the exhibit 800 Seasons: Change and Continuity in Bloomington, 1818-2018, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures will launch a walking/driving tour using the free app Clio. Using it, visitors can explore the sites in and around Bloomington that have had a significant impact on the environmental and cultural history of the area.


"Remembering and Forgetting" Quiz Bowl

 Themester 2019 will presents a quiz inspired by this fall’s theme, "Remembering and Forgetting." Themester interns present a competitive quiz that touches on history, philosophy, political science, sociology, linguistics, literature, biology, current events, and pop culture. Watch the competition to learn about some of the issues explored through this year’s theme. Team up with your friends and sign on to compete for prizes during one of the multiple matches. All competitors take home a T-shirt.

IU Auditorium


The IU Auditorium will be selling tickets and giving out information about their exciting Fall lineup, including Trevor Noah, Book of Mormon, and more! 

African American Arts Institute

Stop by the African American Arts Institute to learn about their great work and enter a raffle to win tickets to upcoming performances from the African American Choral Ensemble, the African American Dance Company, and IU Soul Revue. 

Cardinal Stage Co.

Time travel back to the Jazz Age with Cardinal Stage! To get in the 20s spirit for "The Great Gatsby," Cardinal will be hosting a Roaring 20s selfie booth! Learn about Cardinal's upcoming production and test your knowledge on the Great Gatsby with our "how much do you really remember" quiz.

Moving Image Archives

Stop by the Indiana University Libraries Moving Image Archive tent to get your hands on some 16mm film! Learn projection on a Pageant projector and see a few short films from IU's massive educational film collection. IULMIA staff will be on site to tell you everything you need to know about who they are, what they do, and what events are coming up in the fabulous Screening Room in Wells Library. Don't miss it!

Wylie House & Glenn Black Lab

IU Bloomington's historic Wylie House Museum and campus archaeology unit, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory, team up to share artifacts discovered at the field school on the museum's front lawn last summer. Check out what the "dig" unearthed, and try your hand at puzzling artifact pieces back together.

IU Corps

Combining art and service, IU Corps will be creating placemats that will be delivered to Meals on Wheels recipients alongside their meals. Using pre-made printmaking blocks, students and community members will stamp and customize these placemats which will later be laminated by the IU Corps staff. The result will be unique placemats to brighten someone’s day!

Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Join the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies for a special presentation and activities related to the Animals of Latin America. The highlight will be the presence of representatives from Zoo'Opolis Exotic Petting World in Nashville, Indiana, who will bring chinchillas and guinea pigs for guests to pet and hold.